Press release: Developing World Markets awarded grant to finance WASH activities in developing countries
Convergence has awarded a Design Funding grant to Developing World Markets (DWM) to design a $100 million Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) Impact Note to on-lend to financial institutions and businesses active in WASH activities worldwide.
The DWM WASH Impact Note aims to support the creation and maintenance of up to one million safe sanitation facilities and clean water outlets – starting with countries that have among the greatest WASH related needs, including India, Indonesia, Bangladesh, Cambodia, Kenya, Namibia, Botswana, Tunisia, and El Salvador.
Unsafe management of fecal waste and wastewater presents a major risk to public health and the environment – about 2.4 billion people globally lack adequate sanitation. Approximately 900 million people do not have access to any facilities and practice open defecation. Across the developing world, over 1 billion people are exposed to contaminated drinking water.
Most existing WASH interventions in the target countries are based solely on philanthropy, whereas DWM’s blended model is groundbreaking because it crowds in institutional investors who seek risk-adjusted returns in the space.
“We supported the WASH Impact Note due to its potential to bring large scale financing to an incredibly difficult sector often viewed as not commercially viable,” says Joan Larrea, CEO of Convergence. “If successful, the initiative will have a demonstration effect, showing that blended finance can be an important tool to catalyze commercial investors into challenging arenas.”
The WASH Impact Note will be unique in its blended approach. The Notes are structured in three tranches (junior, mezzanine and senior) to match the diverse appetite of private, public, and philanthropic investors.
The WASH Impact Note will make 4-year, senior, USD-denominated or fully hedged local currency loans to financial institutions or businesses active in WASH activities in developing countries. Under this structure, all borrowers will be pre-identified and undergo due diligence by DWM, so that investors will have certainty of where and how the proceeds will be used, prior to investing. This approach creates a higher degree of transparency for prospective investors versus a traditional fund structure, where the investment pipeline is often theoretical in nature.
“DWM is grateful for the support from Convergence for our second Impact Note,” says Courtland Walker, Managing Director at DWM. “Convergence’s financial support and platform have catalyzed the development of this blended finance structure to enable investment in the WASH sector at scale.”
The WASH Impact Note has received strong interest to-date from prospective philanthropic, public and private investors to participate – ranging from major foundations, development finance institutions to pension funds. Convergence’s grant will allow DWM to complete the design work needed to reach financial close including finalizing the borrower pipeline, vehicle structuring and establishment, investor commitments and contracting service providers.
Photo courtesy of Shamsheer Yousaf.